Zakopane to Krakow

We wake up to rainy skies and fog… Not what we had hoped for and the beautiful mountains that were visible last night are now all covered in clouds. Our Polish friends get going early while we are still debating what to do.

 Krzysztof getting ready in the morning
Krzysztof getting ready in the morning

Back in Truskavets we had booked an appartment for the weekend through AirBnB. We had planned to spend another day here in the Tatra mountains before heading up to Krakow on Saturday and then further to Auschwitz on Monday. We decide to check if the appartment would be available today already. While we wait for the answer from the owners, it starts drizzling. A few minutes later we get confirmation that we are welcome tonight so we start packing as fast as we can. Still, by the time we are ready to go, the drizzle has become full on rain and we are soaked. The KLIM suits do what we paid them for, but water is just flowing down our necks and up our sleeves. Not a nice feeling to put on a helmet when your hair is wet, or wriggling wet hands into your gloves. And it is cold up here!

So we get going, wet or not, heated grips on full whack!

By lunchtime we reach Wieliczka. We dive into the first place we come across that looks warm and dry. The rain has eased of but we are still wet and cold. One hot soup later we feel a lot better and head for the salt mines. They are not hard to find as it is the main reason the city is on the map. We park the bikes and we can even leave our helmets in the office to dry! Nice!

We arrive just in time for the 1PM guided tour. I go to buy the tickets and when I ask the lady at the counter how long it will take, she lets me know it’s about 3 hours. Seriously?!? Ok, you get value for money but we had planned to be in Krakow around 4PM so we make a quick telephone call to our hosts for the night before we head underground.

 New spa resort at Wieliczka Salt Mine
New spa resort at Wieliczka Salt Mine

The tour starts with stairs, lots of stairs! The tour takes us from 64m deep down to 135m with stops at different places so we get a good view on the grandeur of the place and the harsh conditions in which the miners had to work.

 Walking down to level 1 of the Wieliczka Salt Mine
Walking down to level 1 of the Wieliczka Salt Mine

Our guides tells us stories of legends related to the place and the history of the site.

 Copernicus, One of many salt carvings in the Wieliczka Salt Mine
Copernicus, One of many salt carvings in the Wieliczka Salt Mine

 

 The pure salt is translucent
The pure salt is translucent

 

 Myth of the engagement ring of Saint Queen Jadwiga of Poland
Myth of the engagement ring of Saint Queen Jadwiga of Poland

 

 Salt cauliflowers on the walls
Salt cauliflowers on the walls

 

 A dangerous profession: burning pockets of methane gas in the mine
A dangerous profession: burning pockets of methane gas in the mine

 

 King Casimir the Great
King Casimir the Great

 

 The mine goes way down
The mine goes way down

 

 Human powered lift system
Human powered lift system

 

 Old stairs carved out of the salt rocks
Old stairs carved out of the salt rocks

 

 Piston driven water pump in the Wieliczka Salt Mine
Piston driven water pump in the Wieliczka Salt Mine

 

 Water drainage inside the mine
Water drainage inside the mine

 

 Gnome light show
Gnome light show

The tour ends in the bigest and most impressive of the numerous chapels underground.

 Salt crystal chandelier
Salt crystal chandelier

 

 Salt carving of the last supper
Salt carving of the last supper

 

 Chapel inside Wieliczka Salt Mine
Chapel inside Wieliczka Salt Mine

 

 Escape from Bethlehem salt carving
Escape from Bethlehem salt carving

 

 Salt carving of the last supper
Salt carving of the last supper

 

 Salt mine chapel
Salt mine chapel

 

 Solid salt rock floor with tile pattern cut out
Solid salt rock floor with tile pattern cut out

 

 Special salt mine camo suit
Special salt mine camo suit

 

 Pope Jan Pawel II
Pope Jan Pawel II

 

 Lake inside the salt mine, created especially for the tourist visitors
Lake inside the salt mine, created especially for the tourist visitors

 

 Salt mine roof supports
Salt mine roof supports

 

 Salt mine roof supports
Salt mine roof supports

 

 Communist statue inside the Wieliczka Salt Mine
Communist statue inside the Wieliczka Salt Mine

 

 Checking out one of the many souvenir shops inside the mine
Checking out one of the many souvenir shops inside the mine

 

 Deadly boat ride inside the salt mine
Deadly boat ride inside the salt mine

 

 Unesco was here
Unesco was here

 

 Drill marks
Drill marks

 

 Level 3 of the Wieliczka Salt Mine
Level 3 of the Wieliczka Salt Mine

And then it goes up again…

 Taking the elevator back up to the surface
Taking the elevator back up to the surface

 

 Still 100m to go
Still 100m to go

When we get out, it’s still cloudy but dry. And so are we thanks to the warm dry air inside the mine.

 Wieliczka Salt Mine shaft
Wieliczka Salt Mine shaft

 

 One of the 2 main shafts at Wieliczka Salt Mine
One of the 2 main shafts at Wieliczka Salt Mine

We arrive exactly at 5PM at the appartment in Krakow. It’s our first AirBnB experience and we are just stunned! The owner is there to greet us. We park the bikes in the secure underground parking lot, he quickly shows us where everything is and then we have the place to ourselves. The appartment is just increadible!

We have a big living room.

 Appartment in Krakow
Appartment in Krakow

There is a fully equipped kitchen! Including dishwasher and a fridge that is already cold!

 Kitchen
Kitchen

2 bathrooms and a washing machine which we put to good use immediately.

 Large bathroom
Large bathroom

And a huge bedroom in the eaves with one of the best matrasses I ever slept on.

 Main bedroom
Main bedroom

We quickly head down to the supermarket for some dinner and we spend the rest of the evening on the couch enjoying the fast internet and sorting through the images.

 Day 14 - June 19 - Route
Day 14 – June 19 – Route

 

 Day 14 - June 19 - Elevation plot
Day 14 – June 19 – Elevation plot
Sofie Written by:

dreamer – traveller – citizen of Enduristan

When I’m not out there discovering the world on my motorbike, you can find me crouched on the sofa dreaming of far away destinations in travel guides, blogs and maps.